Chelsea star open to exit amid Real Madrid interest

John Obi Mikel is set to leave the club this summer amid interest from Real Madrid, according to reports from the Daily Star.

Mikel has struggled for regular first team football ever since the club resigned Nemanja Matic from Benfica during the winter transfer window last season, with the Nigeria international heavily linked with an exit.

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Southampton are one of the teams keeping close tabs on Mikel, with Saints manager Ronald Koeman considering to replace potentially departing star Morgan Schneiderlin with the 28-year-old.

Real Madrid are also targeting the Blues ace, with Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti keen on adding a midfield enforcer into his squad.

And Mikel’s agent has refused to rule out a potential move to the Santiago Bernabeu, which will only fuel fire to the speculation.

He said: “I can’t talk about anything regarding reports linking John with Real Madrid because he’s still a Chelsea player.”

However, Chelsea chief Jose Mourinho still hopes the club keep the former Fk Lyn star, who he believes is a great asset due to his physicality and work ethic.

“Mikel is Mikel. Mikel plays today the same way he was playing when he was 18,” Mourinho said.

“He plays today the same way he played like I put him against Valencia in the quarter-final of the (2007) Champions League.”

Mikel has played 22 games in all competitions this season, scoring one goal.